Today we went from the excitement of gold medal fights to the elegance of the Wai Khru with our first ever contest for this important part of our sport. And the day began with an inspiring meeting with UNESCO Bangkok and the signing of a partnerships agreement on youth and education.
Both rings were busy from 13:00 with fights going on late into the evening due to the high number of athletes. And in the space between the rings even youngers sports fans took part in the traditional art of Muay Boran, and the much more modern Muay Aerobics.
The day started with some special bouts between athletes too young for the main competition – wearing full protective gear with very restricted rules for safety. The huge grins on the faces of the Thai and German girls in the first event said it all – two more fans for Muaythai competition!
Other bouts were more serious as the older athletes were very conscious they were representing their country, and many openly showing their delight in claiming a world title.
One Italian boy threw his hands wide open and the medal-giver joked he was expecting a hug.
It is of course a huge event for children, but with the dedicated support from their trainers and also families in many cases they were able to enjoy the day.
Locals in the crowd from Bangkok really appreciated the Wai Khru contest, giving the winners loud rounds of applause. This ancient dance allows athletes to show respect and appreciation to their trainers – and each contestant put on a really fun show.
The international judging panel had a tough time in some of the fights as the contests were so close with a high level of talent and skill on display. If it wasn’t for their size, you really wouldn’t know these are just kids.
It’s really encouraging for the future of the sport to see such talent in so many countries, and across both girls and boys.
The day finished off with a trip to a live theatre performance based around the story of Muaythai which went down really well with the kids!